By The Presidio Outdoors Club
Welcoming the incoming class (C21) and building on a rich school history of decompressing from the rigors of class by steeping in the splendors of nature, 22 Presidians came together to build community in the thick forests of the Southern Sierra Mountains this Fall for three days. We embraced challenge. We adapted and overcame. We shared the warmth and comfort of backcountry fires and the unexpected surprise of early season snow! With a level of organization to be expected of any high-performing congruent group of emerging management professionals, the trip was destined for rich success. Spreadsheets for carpools, camping fees, packing lists, food preferences, and directions front-loaded the expedition with an “all-bases-covered” mentality. But what does “winning” look like in the wilderness? Can it be quantified like the return on an investment or modeling the diversification of revenue streams? Foundational courses like “Effective Management Communication and Action” and “Principles of Sustainable Management,” provide PGS students a foundational vocabulary and skill set to approach challenges with resiliency and emotional intelligence.
The trip began on a Friday with folks driving to the Sierras from all areas around the Bay. The five-hour drive was full of lively conversation, last-minute stops for extra chocolate bars and tying hand-picked firewood piles to roof racks. Finding the first campsite for the evening was an adventure in itself! An unmarked forest service road, washed out and rutted led us to the “X” on the map where we would all convene. Hugs and cheer welcomed those late arrivals and an incredible meal took the edge off a long day of travel. Saturday would prove to be a powerful lesson for us all in logistics management. Some classmates welcomed the sunny morning with yoga, others went mountain biking, while some just enjoyed the pure deepness of sleep that forest floor affords. We divided and conquered the many tasks involved in breaking camp and packed for our next move. The efficiency with which we moved and stepped into roles was reflective of our excitement to just spend time with peers in the woods. Though we got a later start on the trail than planned we were packed up and prepared to hike into a grove of Sequoias well known for their size and formation.
By mid-afternoon it had begun to rain we were just getting to the trailhead. A slight navigation miscalculation led us to the highlight of the entire trip. As a group of nearly two dozen, we sat down in a circle and aired out all of the factors that were leading to the day “not going as planned.” Folks shared their concerns in the safety of trust not usually witnessed in a newly formed group. With smiles on our faces we pivoted to a new plan. As the decision was made to hike back to a camp closer to the cars, the weather let up and the rain stopped. We made camp on a rock outcropping and set up a kitchen. We self-delegated roles and in no time at all dinner was cooked and we were enjoying gourmet pasta primavera around a big fire. We told stories. We laughed. Rapport was built. Friendships created.
The next morning we woke up to a sleeting snow that left many of us hesitant to leave the warmth and safety of our tents. We broke camp in record time, made it back to our cars and enjoyed a cup of coffee at the park’s entrance. Many noted the decision to turn back the day before as a blessing in disguise. Waking up deep in the mountains and hiking out many miles through snow would have multiplied our discomfort many-fold. We came together for one last group photo and parted ways. Some stayed for a short hike to see some more of the giants. We saw General Sherman and others. Our success was not measured by attaining some noted destination, but rather in the smiles we shared around campfires and the sound of rain hitting tents while tucked away warm in sleeping bags. In the shadows of some of the oldest and largest remaining trees on earth we built lasting connections. Thanks for a great trip!
For more information or to get involved with the Presidio Outdoors Club email Gabe Krenza.